I scurried my way off after I was advised (perhaps for the second time in this past month) about how I must alter and revamp myself to “be more appealing to men.”
I engaged in a conversation with the nurse on campus in regards to some medical work I had to get done. She requests me for a photocopy of my passport and I gestured towards her printer. “Yeah, but it’s currently out of order” she exclaimed. Me: “I understand but it would be great if you somehow accommodate me as I’d have to walk back to the other block, it’ll be incredibly time-consuming!” She proceeds to tell me how “it isn’t her problem” and that I should “talk to the management”, not her. Fair enough, I thought to myself.
To cut a long story short, I get the task done and return to her and she says to me: “I like you and the fact that you’re so headstrong but out of my sisterly love for you I just wanted to advise you to mellow down and not be so strong (strong?) as men might get intimidated and it might be difficult for someone to court you and eventually get married!” (Woah, that escalated fast, I merely politely asked for a printout )
Here we go again, I mused but still summoned the strength to explain to her how:
1. Everything is not about men, that you can’t perceive a woman solely in relation to her worth and value with men and nothing else. Is that all a woman is?
2. The fact that the “right man” who is secure in his own self and is emotionally stable would never feel intimidated by a strong woman. How can a man of honour, one who is sure of himself, who has anchored himself be intimidated by someone of value, integrity and purpose?
Do y’all see how.. If a woman voices her opinion, stands up for herself and asks for something that’s rightfully hers she is considered “intimidating”? Reverse it to if a man did that, what would he be classified as? His behavior would be deemed charismatic, emboldening and smart!
We conversed for about half an hour and I parted to the words that echoed: “I really like you Amsal. I see myself in you, please never change.”
Luckily my reasoning didn’t fall on deaf ears!
Today I spoke to my Career Counsellor and she highlighted how much she appreciated my initiative and drive (this is a good start, I thought.. if only I had known *phew*). After she handed me some papers to review, I shook her hand and prepared to leave. She said and I quote, “You know Amsal, you’re nice and all but soften your touch as that’s what dictates how far you’ll go with men. Remember that that’s how you get around in life. Are you married? You do want to get married one day, right? (That’s debatable, I’m thinking at this point ) So.. make your touch more “ladylike”. It’s better I tell you this now, than later.” Mind you, this is only the second time I’m meeting this woman.
Cherry on top, yesterday I overheard a girl talk to her friend about how “women shouldn’t work out and build so much muscle as a man doesn’t like that.. he doesn’t want a “rock” next to him?” (well, what if she’s into muscle building? What if she wants to be a rock? What’s the problem fellas?) Note: A woman can be whatsoever she wishes to be and if she wants to be a rock, leave her to her own devices.
So what she was alluding to is that: A woman doesn’t have the right to be who she wants to be? Unless the “who” she wants to be is pleasing to men?
You see how what was said to me today about “softening my touch” and what the girl said to her friend are inextricably linked? Reflects the mentality many women harbor, an internalized sense of inferiority in relation to their standing with men…
I’m not as naive as I would like to believe, sometimes. I’m aware of how most of women’s choices are more often than not centered around what men think of them: be it the way they apply makeup on their faces, clothing, their walk, conduct, demeanor, speech, career choices.. and the list is endless! GIRLS! Your self-worth and the value of your existence is not based off of what men think of you and whether you are “desirable” to them or not. Life isn’t about “securing” a man. Success never is and never will be contingent on what the male population thinks of you. Is there no higher pursuit in life? Is there nothing else to aspire for? What about a woman of substance? A woman with a strong moral code, a woman adamant to create positive change.. does that hold no value in our eyes?
And the worst thing is that us women are the worst foes towards one another. Instead of uplifting one another to work towards becoming the best version of ourselves, becoming community leaders, inspiring people, breaking glass-ceilings, working towards personal self-development, self-enrichment and enhancement, striving to be exceptional mothers/daughters and global citizens, we advocate being “more ladylike” “building a sexy bod” “altering the cadence of our voice to sound more desirable to a man”, all under one premise: To please men.
This isn’t what we’re created for. I don’t know about you but that isn’t the life I choose for me. Most people around me are immersed in this vicious cycle and I see how damaging it can be. Come hail come shine, whether my touch is “rough” or “gentle”, this is me and my purpose in life isn’t to have men flock towards me: and it shouldn’t be yours, either. Don’t repress or change yourself for a man. Don’t shrink your sense of self just to appease others. You might need to bend in humility but no one who is right for you will ever need you to break yourself and fit the mould. Cause you’re so much more than a toy to play with.
Anyone else wondering about how much we would truly prosper if we devoted even half of our time serving God and his people, instead of recreating our “sex appeal”?
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